August 30, 2000

Bicentennial Celebration Continues to Expand and Enliven

Middlebury College Arts Program as 2000-2001 Season Begins


College Arts Events Offer Wide Range of Cultural Activities to Public at Low or No Cost


MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- A variety of exhibits and events in honor of the Middlebury College Bicentennial, ranging from a production of "Hamlet" to a performance by the Raphael Trio, will launch a lively 2000-2001 arts season at the College. The trio's program includes a song cycle composed to a text by award-winning Vermont author Jamaica Kincaid. Music lovers will also enjoy another Bicentennial arts event-the Continental Harmony Premiere and Choral Performance, part of a nationwide musical celebration of the millennium and the first 50-state project in U.S. history to commission 50 original musical works. Other highlights of the season are the return engagements of such popular performers as the Cyrus Chestnut Trio and the Takács Quartet.

"Because the Bicentennial celebration culminates in early November, we will continue through that time to honor the tradition of the arts at Middlebury with such special events as a new museum exhibit, "Middlebury College: 200 Years," said Director of the Middlebury College Center for the Arts Susan Stockton. "And once again, we're happy to be able to offer ticket prices that remain low due to College subsidies."

In October, the College will celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month-a designation declared by President Clinton in a presidential proclamation-as well as Middlebury's own Bicentennial Celebration Arts Month.

The Middlebury College Concert Series will kick off the activities with the Emerson String Quartet, which will return to the College on Oct. 6 after performing an historic, critically acclaimed cycle of Dimitri Shostakovich's string quartets. The group's program includes the 12th quartet from this cycle. The New York Times declared, "The Emerson has been regarded for more than a decade as one of the hottest quartets."

On Oct. 9, Robert Mirabel of Taos Pueblo, N.M., a Silver Wave recording artist and an award-winning flutist and composer, will perform Native American flute music and traditional vocals-from the ancient to the modern-in his language. The event will also include Native American dancing.

October continues with an appearance by the Raphael Trio, a production of "Hamlet" that unites student and alumni actors, and performances by Theatre of Voices, a choral chamber group specializing in medieval and renaissance music. The Chicago Tribune called Theatre of Voices "a uniquely moving musical experience." The month concludes with an appearance by two-person dance company Pilobolus Too, which will offer an evening of intimate duets and solos. The Albuquerque Journal noted the "stunning inventiveness and visual beauty" that characterizes the pair's dancing.

The Continental Harmony Premiere and Choral Performance on Nov. 3, the final Bicentennial arts event, features the premiere of a new commissioned work by Middlebury alumnus Peter Hamlin, a professor of music at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. The inaugural work will present the combined talents of the Middlebury College Choir, the Middlebury Community Chorus, the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble, and organist Emory Fanning, with François Clemmons and Jeffrey Rehbach conducting. Continental Harmony links communities with composers to celebrate the new millennium through the creation of original musical works.

Throughout the yearboth before and after the Bicentennial concludesMiddlebury College will offer a variety of music, theatre, dance, films, lectures, and museum exhibits and workshops for children and their families.

Two highly acclaimed pianists will appear at the College this season-Arnaldo Cohen and Stephen Kovacevich. Cohen will perform works by Brahms, Bach, and Chopin on Jan. 19, while Kovacevich, who is known for his recordings of Beethoven, will play a program of this composer's music, including "Moonlight Sonata," on April 17.

Theatre productions by visiting artists, faculty, and students will take place throughout the academic year. One such production is "Top Girls" on Nov. 16-18. By turns funny, abrasive, and disconcerting, the play creates a community of vibrant historical women while unsentimentally exposing our Darwinian culture and the human cost it exacts. Directed by Professor of Theatre Cheryl Faraone, "Top Girls" is written by Caryl Churchill, one of Britain's foremost dramatists.

The Foundry Theatre's award-winning production of "Gertrude & Alice: A Likeness to Loving" is a two-person play about Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas that will take place April 3-4. Constructed entirely from Stein's literature and letters, and Toklas' cookbook and memoirs, the play speaks the language of a remarkable relationship between extraordinary women and testifies to their unmistakable place as mothers of modernism. The New York Times declares this production is "staged with poetic precision ... beautifully conceived." A Gertrude Stein Symposium will also take place at the College on April 4.

Dance lovers will look forward to the Dance Company of Middlebury's launch of its 2001 tour to schools and communities throughout New England with two concerts of improvisational dance and music, titled "Riding the Wild Ephemerid," on Jan. 24-25.

Another highlight of the arts program, which will take place on April 6-7, is "A Simple Heart" performed by Big Dance Theatre, which investigates both plays and dance forms, saturating dance with theatre, and theatre with dance. The company's unique approach has earned it a reputation for being highly theatrical and visually stunning. Daily Variety proclaims, "Words play only a minor role in 'A Simple Heart,' by experimental director Annie-B Parson . a pure and delightful appreciation of Flaubert's small but indelible literary masterpiece."

On Sept. 14, two new exhibitions will begin the fall arts season at the Middlebury College Museum of Art-"Tony Smith's Smog: A New Sculpture for Middlebury" and "Middlebury College: 200 Years." The former is taking place in conjunction with the Oct. 21 dedication of "Smog," a rigorously geometrical sculpture by Tony Smith (American, 1912-1980) on the eastern lawn of Bicentennial Hall on the Middlebury College campus. The exhibition features sculptural models, preparatory drawings, and photographs related to the history of the piece. Originally designed by the artist in 1969 in a full-scale plywood model, the work was recently fabricated in painted aluminum for its installation on campus.

The exhibition "Rudy Burckhardt and Friends: New York Artists of the 1950s and '60s" will open on Jan. 16. Included in the exhibition are nearly 80 Burckhardt photographs and some 55 works by the artists he portrayed, from Willem de Kooning to Jackson Pollock.

Workshops for teachers, lectures, slide presentations, and demonstrations will accompany these and other museum exhibits. A new community program for families, "Saturdays at the Museum," offers a hands-on project for children ages 5-12 and accompanying adults, followed by a gallery talk. The program pertains to a current exhibit, requires no pre-registration, and is free.

The Hirschfield Film/Video Series presents recent and historic, American and foreign films in 35 millimeter, shown at no charge. Highlights of the series include the event "Cultures of Silent Film" on Sept. 23, when a panel of Middlebury faculty will show and discuss film excerpts that address issues in silent film culture. On Oct. 7, David Ehrlich, who has been given retrospectives of his prize-winning animated films and holograms in museums and festivals throughout the world, will be present to introduce more than a dozen of his short animated films at an event titled "David Ehrlich: The Art of Film Animation."

The Middlebury College 2001 Silberman Symposium in Jewish Studies, "The Holocaust and Cinema," offers a number of lectures and films, including a March 13 screening of "The Last Days," which was produced by Steven Spielberg and traces the experiences of five Hungarian Holocaust survivors.

The Hirschfield Film/Video Series also offers such films as the recently released, beautifully restored print of the Hitchcock classic "Rear Window;" director Stanley Kubrick's 1999 film "Eyes Wide Shut" starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman; and Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodóvar's "All About My Mother," which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2000.

Tickets, Program, and Dinner Information

Information, tickets for all music, theatre and dance performances, a free four-color 2000-2001 Middlebury College arts calendar, or a free quarterly newsletter, "Arts at Middlebury College," are all available through the College's box office at 802-443-6433. Patrons can visit the Center for the Arts on the web at

Museum exhibition information is available by calling 802-443-5007 or visiting the museum on the web at Hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.

The Hirschfield Film/Video Series offers a rich array of films presented from Sept. 23 through April 28. Films are shown twice on Saturdays, once at 3 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. in Middlebury College's Dana Auditorium on College Street. Several Silberman Symposium films will be screened in Twilight Hall.

Patrons hungry for both food and the arts also can contact the box office at 802-443-6433 to make the required reservations for pre-performance dinner at the Rehearsals Cafe in the Center for the Arts. Dinner is available only before select performances.

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